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Ellsworth retires from playing softball

October 8, 2019

O'Leary, PE - - Ellsworth retires from playing softball



Jeff Ellsworth, right, and pitcher Adam Folkard accept the Hill United Chiefs’ championship trophy from the 2015 ISC World tournament in South Bend, Indiana. - Contributed

 

 

ORIGINAL STORY by Eric McCarthy

Coaching is new passion for Prince Edward Islander

O'LEARY, P.E.I. —

P.E.I. softball player Jeff Ellsworth has retired from Team Canada for the second and final time.
“This time it’s official,” the St. Lawrence native said the day after Softball Canada announced both Ellsworth and Newfoundlander Steve Mullaley had retired from the team.

Ellsworth had decided to end a 10-year run with Team Canada at the end of the 2015 cycle, but was advised against sending a resignation letter. Ultimately, Softball Canada kept him on its roster and he was named to the team that won the bronze medal at the world championships in Prague in June.

If it wasn’t for a groin injury in his last game of the year with his club team, Hill United Chiefs, Ellsworth, who is employed as the O’Leary Community Sports Centre’s facility manager, admits he might have considered playing one more year for both Team Canada and the Chiefs.

“I ended off the season on the injured list, so that was just like the determining factor right there, that it was time to hang it up,” he said.  

Ellsworth is appreciative of all the messages of congratulations he’s received on his softball career since the formal announcement earlier this week.

“We would like to congratulate Jeff Ellsworth and Steve Mullaley on their fantastic international softball careers,” Kevin Quinn, president of Softball Canada said. “They were both key members of our gold medal teams at the 2015 WBSC world championship and the 2015 Pan American Games.

“On top of their tremendous accomplishments on the softball field, they were also important team leaders, ambassadors and role models off the field. Their presence will definitely be missed by our men’s national team program.”

“If the opportunity presents itself to go to a Canadian championship in late August, or go to the European Cup, which I’ve never done before, I would definitely jump on that opportunity, if I stayed in shape. But, as of right now, I’m saying my fastpitch days are done, done,” Ellsworth said in an interview with the Journal Pioneer.

Coaching resumé

 

But that comment applies only to his playing days as his coaching resumé continues to grow. He is in his third year as head coach of Canada’s junior men’s team, which will play in a world qualifying tournament in Guatemala later this month.

The team of 15 was selected based on stats from a cross-Canada tour that included tryouts in every province. The athletes will come together for the first time when they arrive in Guatemala for five days of practices and inter-squad and exhibition games prior to the qualifying tournament.

Of the nine teams at the qualifier, only four advance to the world championship in New Zealand in late February, and Ellsworth is hoping Canada will be there. He said the team is gifted with four pitchers – two lefties and two right-handers – who can throw in the 70-miles-per-hour range, and big, strong hitters.

He has also accepted the head coach/GM responsibilities with the Chiefs. That offer came following his season-ending injury.

“They asked what my plans were for next season. We discussed my retirement with the Hill United Chiefs, as well. They said, ‘Are you sure?’ and I said, ‘yeah’ and then they asked if I would take over the head coach/GM of the HUC squad.

“I was very honoured and humbled by that because, being 41-years-old and now the head coach of a top-three team in the world, it’s going to be pretty special.”

The team has players from Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Australia and is still in negotiations with players from other countries. The Chiefs launch their 2020 schedule with a tournament in Florida in January.

“Coaching is where my passion and my love is right now,” said Ellsworth, “and I can’t wait to get going with the junior program this cycle and, obviously, with Hill United.”


Final Year

  • A recap of Jeff Ellsworth’s retirement year:
  • Batted around .300 with one home run for Canada in Prague. Canada also won the Kelowna Days tournament.
  • Played in five tournaments with Hill United. Was the Chiefs’ leading hitter in their first tournament and MVP of their second tournament. The Chiefs won the ASA championship and placed fourth at the ISC world championship.
  • Softball Canada, in its announcement, referred to Ellsworth as one of the game’s top hitters.
  • In addition to his gold medals, Ellsworth was also part of Canada’s 2009 and 2019 WBSC bronze medalist teams.


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